Who Speaks for the Young Men? Today, I Do!

Young Man - Listens to A Cosmic Heart Beat

Today, I am sitting with the deep grief unleashed by the shooting in Connecticut to deal with something that has been niggling at me for a very long time.  (This post is long, but essential!)

What we fail to hear in the reporting of these shooting incidents is that Young Men are the perpetrators!

 Young Men: Columbine, Colorado, Arizona, Connecticut, to name just a few.

The reaction to these events seems to always go to the ” fix-its” that never really get fixed anyway, namely, changes to gun laws and mental health reform.

Neither of these are the root cause even though there is no question that both guns and mental health scream out for reform and a return to sanity. However, these still leave out the huge “elephant in the living room”, men are doing this and more importantly, young men are doing this!

Now, switch to the Arab world and the countless young men you see waving guns, apparently “high” on bloody conflict, suicide bombings, and general mayhem.  Switch to Africa, the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, young men running amok with guns.

This is not just an American problem.

What this is and I now speak for the young men of our planet is a result of cultures offering bread crumbs, very little support and paltry visions to our young in general and young men in particular.  It is in Europe.  It is here.  It is all over the Arab world.

The common denominator is limited opportunities, no work, little to no education for many, and inadequate models of what it is to be a male in the 21st century!  Every human needs to be needed, a sense of belonging, and a sense of personal destiny;  young men are not getting this in any positive and culturally valued way.

The old military model of the warrior offers little hope for a new world male,  non-violent and non-abusive and dedicated to life affirming pursuits.

In the West,  it is the military and its guns.  Here, they can belong.  Here, they can feel a sense of personal power.  Here, they have a PURPOSE.

That’s it!  There is simply no other societal function that values and supports young men with non-violent alternatives to feel needed and serve in some larger way.  If you are poor and uneducated, this is especially your lot.

Are you noticing how violence born of isolation and a sense of meaninglessness is spreading?  No longer just the disenfranchised, but  the educated and privileged also are lost and shooting, Colorado movie theater, for instance.

Who too can fault all the alcohol and drug use?  Why not escape this tired and worn out vision of manhood?

When there is no employment, no satisfying work, and very little attention positively paid to the young, the world gets smaller. Despair and rage take over.

In the Arab world, we see young men’s sense of purpose wrapped up in waving guns and sacrificing their lives for some obscure and distorted religious fervor that is not even a core teaching of Islam. We see thousands of uneducated young men without alternative hopes and dreams for lives of  “positive” purpose.

 It is testosterone run amok!  To paraphrase an old adage: “idle hands and minds and lack of hopeful dreams are the devil’s playthings”--and please do not take “devil” literally, we have enough of that going around too!

Who speaks a new vision for young men in our culture?  Who offers something so compelling that guns and rage cease to be the juice that makes young men feel powerful, alive, and purposeful?

Well, I think it is the women.  Women willing to show up and shame the dying, but not yet dead, patriarchy for its lack of vision for the young and lack of caring for the new male whose value and role in societies has yet to be articulated much less supported with resources and pride.

These women are ones willing to step up to the plate and take on the role of Global Mother, Great Mother energy willing to say “Enough,  you will do no more harm nor keep humanity small”!  Women willing to walk out their front doors all over America when these abhorrent events happen and wail and keen in deafening “shared voice” until all come out of the “numb” and begin to feel the madness of all of it, the pain of all of it both for the slaughtered and those young men doing the slaughtering!

Shame is a powerful deterrent and legions of women willing to be “on call” and speak the outrage and shame to those committing violence and those doing nothing to help deter the violence is a powerful female tool.  

It is the lioness, the matriarchs willing to say “enough” in every violent circumstance of rape, abuse and slaughter. 

And what about adult men, you, the fathers and grandfathers, uncles and male mentors???

 I recommend a healthy dose of self reflection on this male phenomenon of violence and killing as a source of identity.

It is not a woman’s problem other than that most often, it is women and children who bear the brunt in families, in wars, in urban shootings!  Why am I not hearing men talk about this?  I hear talk of a violent society and violent video games and movies, but never do I see a focused campaign initiated by men looking for a new vision of what it is to be male in the 21st century and beyond.

Whose job is it to expand male consciousness and to realize that violence, guns and war is an old dinosaurean concept of manhood.

Take care of your own testosterone, men, and use your intelligence and talents and heart to inspire each other and for godsake offer your sons a new vision of themselves with support and praise and love and hugs from birth and throughout their lives!

This is your work, not mine and not other women’s!

How much louder can the cries for help get?  How much more evidence do we need of lost souls gone amok?

Yes, control guns if you will, but “they”, the ties to money and armaments, will not do it !  Restore mental health care availability and skilled treatment, if you will, but “they” won’t because we must feed the bloated military budget that trumps any new world vision that inspires young men with new sensibilities of their personal worth and  positive contributions to this planet!

Who speaks for all these young men?  Today, I do, but that is not enough.  There is such great promise for where humanity is going, but it takes adults to open up possibilities and options for the young.  It takes adults to dream big for their children so children can catch the dream and believe they can really make a new, productive, and life-affirming world.

Someone said…. ”  Given the present circumstances, not to dream more boldly, is simply irresponsible!”

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  1. Well said Morgana. There are legions of these young men all over the world aimlessly living their lives with little purpose and little hope for the future. Disenfranchised, disenchanted and perfect candidates for addictions and aggression. Where does society start? The whole thing has so many layers to it but piece by piece we must make a commitment to do something, anything that pulls us out of this apathy that we have fallen into. Maybe the horror of the shootings in Connecticut will jolt the world into action rather than rhetoric. Surely it’s time.

  2. Thank you for this, Morgana! It is the most helpful perspective I’ve encountered. You got to the heart of the matter. We need to reach for a meaningful conversation about raising our sons in a way that gives them hope in themselves and in the future they will be a part of creating. As the mother of three successful, happy sons now raising families of their own, I realize now that what I wanted to do as a mother was to inspire them to the very best in themselves, always reflecting back to them the beautiful souls, the precious beings of value and ability that their actions revealed. They have grown into the loving men that I saw the potential of when I first looked into their endless eyes at birth.
    And although, we need to address this as a culture, as a species on this planet, we can each do it in our own lives by inspiring ourselves about the responsibility and potential for healing or harm in every moment of our interactions with our children. We must raised our consciousness about parenting, and what in truth, is happening in our every action. We must stop our reactive behavior and ask ourselves to see our own behavior through the eyes of our child; this precious gift the Universe has given us to shepherd, protect, and sustain until they can take their place as a part of the future. As parents we are creating the future. How do we want it to be? We must inspire ourselves to the best we have to offer to the future we want.